Davis Zoo Naturalistic Zoo Enclosures
Everything would be okay! Newt and her were just going to have a fun zoo trip and get to have some one on one time that seemed sorely needed even before things got weird. Said stuff in question definitely needed to be talked about somewhat even if it made her incredibly anxious to the point she worried Dakila would feel it. Everything would be fine though and they could see animals and there’d be some dippin’ dots as a snack in her future.

Arriving a bit earlier than set, Natalie had two tickets ready and stood near the entrance under shade offered by a large oak. She sent a text over to Newt to let him know she was here before settling in to wait.
Newt was a little apprehensive, but otherwise excited for the day. The zoo was unknown territory for him. It always felt risky, so it was (or had been) a bad place to visit. Today it would be a good day. Fig was excited. Maybe there'd be a tough conversation, but at this point he wasn't a stranger to it.

His phone buzzed as he pulled into a spot. She'd beaten him here. He realized it didn't surprise him.

Newt gave her a wave as he walked up. "Hey, hope you haven't been waiting long."
A push from her wolf had Natalie looking up from her phone to an approaching Newt. Raising her own hand to wave, he was soon joining her. It was good to see him and her eyes couldn’t help drifting to his neck just briefly which was bandage free now. Whew.

”Nope, not at all,” Natalie beamed, offering over a ticket for him. ”I went ahead and got us tickets so we can just walk right in.”
"Oh, sweet, thanks. I got the food, then." Newt took the ticket and started to move towards the entrance. "How're you doing?" An appropriately adult ice breaker.
Ticket for food, that worked and was unexpected! ”Thanks.”

Walking alongside him, the wolf pranced happily next to the other while pushing for more contact as conversation started up. How was she? Um! ”I’m doing okay, it’s been a busy couple of months.” And she was for sure, but that was super vague as an answer. But, how did you wrap everything up quickly, especially when some of that touched on, well, their last meeting? That seemed kind of rough for a topic before they were even inside.

”How’re you? You, um, you look a lot better.” You know? Without the bandages and blood and fur.
"All things considered, relatively...calm? Manageable," He decided with a nod. Maybe everything felt manageable when they had been so decidedly unmanageable a few months ago. Or maybe he felt he needed to keep it manageable so Holly, wherever she was at the moment, wouldn't be a victim to his lighting strikes of bad feelings.

Right now, he was good.

"Busy, huh?" Newt would gently pry, with something of an apologetic smile. He had, certainly, had some hand in that busyness.
Calm and manageable wasn’t what she’d expected as an answer to something people just had a script for and moved along with. Natalie looked towards him with appreciation that it wasn’t default, but an actual insight into his well being. Thank goodness it seemed he was in a good place.

The prying had her look at him guiltily and embarrassed. Caught. ”Um, yeah, I had some things to work through.” How do you say because of the situation we were both in I was pushed the direct bottom of self confidence? The wolf sighed. ”I felt like I’d let you all down. Dakila and Dante helped talk me through it.”
That was a lot. The airing of his dirty laundry had really hurt her. Something better kept behind closed doors for him to handle. It needed to be handled, but he was, admittedly, waiting for the moment to present itself. Newt wasn't going to try to hunt the fucker down.

"I'm glad you had help. I didn't feel let down at all, though. If it's any consolation way after the fact." What a bummer of a guy. Good job, Newt. Friends, although they knew basically nothing about each other, but...still.
At the entrance, she gave her ticket, letting Newt do the same before they were let into a path already winding way past what could be seen with tons of offshoots and the promise of many different animals if the smells were anything to go by.

It felt kind of vulnerable to have been brought up, but Newt took it and reassured her. Natalie had done all she could, that pile formed by Dante and further proofed. ”Thank you, that means a lot.” A whole lot since it was said by Newt. She seesawed on what to say here, there were several avenues. ”I’m still learning how to be good at this, but I’m trying.” At being a friend with the werewolf asterisk there, at being a second, at just being! It was a lot.
They crossed the threshold into the zoo. The energy seemed to shift a little with the smells and options. He grabbed a map from a stand by the entrance.

It was something he should have said more. They were all people living their own lives. They weren't shoved into a space daily like he figured wolves were in the wild. But people needed reassurance. Like, he absolutely needed to get a drink with Dakila or something.

"If you hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have known." He pulled the map open and grinned in her direction. "Where should we go first?"
Newt got a map which was a great call because they needed to be sure to hit everything and not end up in a circle already seen several times. There was only so much you could look at flamingos as they walked through pools of water and preened feathers.

She caught his grin at the comments and felt really reassured in a way that felt like a hug of comfort, worries sliding off. It was a moment of realizing once again just how hard she was on herself when everyone around her continued to think only kindly. A grin of her own met his with thanks before leaning into Newt’s space to look at the map, sides touching, the wolf using the chance to get up close. There was a slower approach instead of vaulting right into the other considering teeth had come her way in the past, but still she nudged a muzzle against his side in hello, moving to lean against fur.

Looking over the map and trying to concentrate on the options, she let a finger wind down the path in front of them. ”Want to see Asia first?”
Newt adjusted the map as she leaned in, smiling in his own little way though they were both focused on where to go. Natalie had never really done anything wrong in his eyes. She needed to know that.

Fig lowered his head at the Second, ears folded, whining a whistle through his nose as she nudged into him. Deeply apologetic. His tail wagged uncertainly. They were ok?

"Yeah, let's start there." He looked up to get his bearings from there and headed that way.

"You know," he started. "I don't think we've ever really just...hung out " How shitty. March could really have been catastrophic.
Body language heard loud and clear, she yawned to shake off tension, her own tail softly wagging in response. All was okay if he was okay. Maw opening, she’d move to grab an ear and pull on it playfully with the lightest of teeth.

”Great.” With a part of the map to start first on agreed upon, she looked up herself, trying to put one to one. Letting Newt take the lead on directions, she’d fall into step by him as they went, her face pulling into something thoughtful at the comment. ”I don’t think so, either. I’m glad we’re changing that.” One outing at a time, starting with the zoo!
With the mood corrected, Fig was more than happy to play in his too rambunctious and mouth way.

Newt folded up the map and shoved it into his back pocket for now. There were random exhibits here and there that he looked towards, curious, but enough to stop them from their first destination. Some birds and mammals just not cool enough to have their exhibits fit into the themed areas, and then an entire reptile house which looked horribly humid inside of the steamed sunglasses on people's heads were any indication.

"Yeah, I feel like I need to go down the list." Newt blew out his cheeks. "I can't remember, did you say you've been here before?" He hadn't remembered their text conversation being that long. Maybe he was reading into the suggestion.
As they went, her gaze would move around the various displays they were passing, making a mental note to double back before they left today. Every animal had to be seen and the wolf was in agreement as it took note of every scurrying creature.

”No, I haven’t. It being okay for us to be around other animals is still new to me to be honest.”
"It is sort of a whole new world," Newt mused. Like, could he get a pet? He'd never really been a pet person. Maybe he could tell Bree that it was OK if she wanted a pet. Not that it had been something she had even brought up. Newt wasn't even sure he was a pet person; the opportunity had never really been there.
It was a whole new world! ”Yeah, definitely,” she agreed with a smile, looking towards an enclosure with toucans jumping from pedestal to limb to food container as they passed.

”How about you? Have you ever been here before?”
Newt wouldn't admit it, but he felt like a kid on his first trip to the zoo. When you'd only ever seen wild animals on TV and suddenly there was a fucking toucan! It was hard not to smile a little and give a longer look as they strolled by.

"If I have, I don't remember. Might've been a kid."
She looked to him briefly, catching the look to the bird and finding it nice that it wasn’t just her being excited over every passing creature.

”Oh gosh, we have to make up for lost time. We should be early enough to see all the big animals out before it gets too hot.”
"We have to read every placard," Newt joked. Half-joked. He was more interested in staring at animals than learning facts that he probably wouldn't remember tomorrow. Making memories!

He was tempted to pull the map back out and see exactly what they were walking into, but he'd let it be a surprise. They passed another long path-side bird exhibit, though he couldn't immediately see what the bird was from their spot on the path. The placard said "crested ibis". "How much do you know about animals?"
”Definitely,” she agreed with a laugh, but honestly no one could stop them. They’d definitely see every animal though, that was a given requirement.

”Um, just a normal amount besides too much about wolves and a little about jaguars.” Between running into Asha years ago, living in jaguar territory, and now dating one, curiosity had taken her down a few more google searches than the regular person.
Newt thought it would be really weird to see wolves here. Like, would he feel the urge to release them from their carefully and thoughtfully constructed prison? Doubtful, but it was kind of a funny thought. Probably still weird to see them.

"Jaguars, huh? One fun fact: go."
She should’ve known where this was going, asking her on the spot. For a moment she floundered, thought drifting to Jay and then the big cat in question. Maybe, some day she’d get to see his own animal.

”They really love the water! There’s some cute videos online with them swimming.” Like a whole lot.
"Alright. I'll have to look those up," Newt laughed and tried to imagine the powerful and floppy cats messing around in pools. He crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm not gonna lie, I don't think I know that much about wolves." Literally basic shit. He had never felt particularly drawn to Google what kind of wolf he even was until semi-recently.
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